“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NKJV)
The holiday season is upon us, and many of you may already be planning your menu. Perhaps you are a traditionalist and serve the same family classics each year. Or maybe you are non-traditional and incorporate new or unusual dishes into the usual fare. Whatever your cooking style (or choice to order a ready-made meal), you don’t want anyone to end the day hungry.
I enjoy food. I really enjoy comfort foods—all those wonderful (and unhealthy) things my mom made during my childhood. So, it isn’t surprising that when a group of friends decided to enjoy the mutual support and accountability of dieting together, I declined the honor. Somehow, I suspected that triple chocolate cake was not on their list of approved foods.
Whatever our eating style, food would not be nearly as pleasurable if we never experienced hunger. This is God’s built-in alarm that tells us it is time to eat. Without hunger, we might literally starve to death. Hunger gives us the perception of need, thus allowing us to take in the nourishment we require to live. However, the body is adaptable. We all know people who habitually skip breakfast or work through lunch. Eventually, their body adjusts to this schedule and does not signal hunger at those times.
The spiritual man is the same. One who habitually attends church will begin to feel the “hunger pains” as service time nears. On the other hand, someone who routinely misses worship service will soon lose the desire to be there. The same is true with our personal devotions. If we skip this time with the Lord, we quickly forget the pleasure — the hunger — of that spiritual mealtime.
Just as our physical bodies can suffer starvation, the spiritual man also can if allowed to go for long periods without nourishment. In most cases, the famine is self-inflicted, caused by careless habits. Amos describes it as “not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD” (Amos 8:11).
The rules for spiritual health are the same as those for the health of our physical bodies:
- Eat regular meals. This includes both personal devotional time and corporate worship with the preached Word.
- Eat a balanced diet. Pack in the nutrition of prayer, God’s Word, praise, and worship.
- Skip the junk food. Stay away from any thoughts or actions that rob us of hunger for the things of God.
- Continue to eat even when the appetite is dull. We all go through times when we may not feel as close to God but we keep going to the table to eat.
In the story of the prodigal son, we read that he eventually hit bottom. Finally, he realized his condition and the solution. “And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father” (Luke 15:17-18).
Our Father’s house always has an abundance of food. We must never lose our appetite for the things of God. The spiritual man cannot exist on the occasional Sunday morning meal. We need daily nutrition just as we feed our physical bodies each day. The simple truth is that we can have as much of God as we desire.
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35, NKJV).